卓越實證概述 Best Evidence in Brief
Does harsh parenting affect Chinese students’ academic achievement?

Chinese parents were reported to exercise a higher level of parental control. To understand how this could affect students’ achievement, an article published in the Journal of School Psychology examined the relationship between harsh parenting and adolescent academic achievement, as well as how effortful control and classroom engagement mediated the effects of harsh parenting. The research also investigated how boys and girls were differently affected.

Mingzhong Wang and colleagues surveyed 815 students in sixth through eighth grade from two public junior high schools located in rural areas of Eastern China, as well as their parents. Students’ academic achievement was measured by a standardised score obtained from test scores in Chinese language, English language and Math combined with two teacher-rated items. Harsh parenting, effortful control and classroom engagement were measured by items used in prior research and were validated.

The findings showed that:

  • Harsh parenting has negative direct effects on academic achievement for both boys and girls.
  • Harsh parenting also has a detrimental effect on students’ effortful control, making them less engaged in classroom activities and in turn leading to poorer academic achievement, regardless of gender.
  • For boys, the negative indirect effect of harsh parenting on academic achievement was mainly through the adverse impacts of effortful control. For girls, it was mainly through classroom engagement.

The authors concluded that teachers should not only pay attention to proximal factors such as classroom management to improve students’ academic achievement; instead, malleable distal factors such as harsh parenting are also important.

 

Source: Wang, M., Deng, X., & Du, X. (2018). Harsh parenting and academic achievement in Chinese adolescents: Potential mediating roles of effortful control and classroom engagement. Journal of school psychology67, 16-30.Read the rest

Parental involvement: Including fathers in the picture

A meta-analysis from Harvard University explores the relative strength of the association between educational involvement of fathers versus mothers and the achievement of their children. The research suggested that parents have an equal academic impact on children regardless of their gender, although fathers’ mean levels of involvement were lower.

In general, research on parental involvement in education does not distinguish between fathers and mothers, and where the focus is on one parent, it is most likely to be the mother. In contrast, this meta-analysis sought to put fathers in the picture. The authors included 52 empirical studies representing 390 correlations for the relation between parental involvement (mothers or fathers) and achievement. They found that:

  • Parental involvement was positively associated with student achievement.
  • The relation between involvement and achievement was equally strong for fathers and mothers.
  • Child gender did not moderate this relation.

The authors do note some limitations to their analysis, namely a lack of longitudinal studies and wide variability in the way parental involvement and achievement had been measured across the studies.

 

Source:Kim, S. won, & Hill, N. E. (2015). Including fathers in the picture: A meta-analysis of parental involvement and students’ academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(4), 919–934. Read the rest

The positive influence of classmates’ behavior

Prior research has indicated that an individual adolescent’s behavior is influenced by the behavior of his or her classmates. But while most studies have focused on negative peer influence, a study published in Journal of Adolescence investigates whether individual anti-social behaviors in adolescents can potentially be reduced by promoting prosocial behavior at the classroom level.

In order to determine whether classmates’ prosocial behavior is related to lower anti-social behavior of students, Verena Hofmann and Christoph Michael Müller conducted a longitudinal study among lower secondary school students in Switzerland (mean age = 13.8 years). The sample included 55 classrooms in eight schools, and the researchers analyzed data collected at the end of Grade 7, Grade 8, and Grade 9. Participants completed self-reported assessments on prosocial behavior, anti-social behavior, and anti-social attitudes. Classmates’ pro- and anti-social behavior for each student was calculated by averaging all students’ scores in a class, excluding the students’ own score. The findings showed that:

  • Children generally developed more anti-social behavior over time, particularly those who had higher initial levels of anti-social behavior.
  • More prosocial behavior among classmates predicted lower levels of individual anti-social behavior and anti-social attitudes in the future.

The authors suggested that these results were informative since the study focused on the influence of behavior among all classmates rather than just personal friends and showed classmates could exert positive influence on behavior.

 

Source: Hofmann, V., & Müller, C. M. (2018). Avoiding antisocial behavior among adolescents: The positive influence of classmates’ prosocial behavior. Journal of Adolescence, 68, 136–145. Read the rest

Which character strengths lead to good achievement?

Wanger and Ruch (2015) found that some character strengths contribute to positive classroom behaviours, which then lead to an increase in school achievement.

Positive psychologists identified twenty-four character strengths that are inherently valuable and contribute to positive outcomes. In this article, published in Frontiers in Psychology, the authors report on two studies conducted on 179 primary students from 3 schools and 199 secondary students from 4 schools respectively in Switzerland to examine whether character strengths are important to school success for primary and secondary school students.

They measured character strengths by the Value in Action Inventory of Strengths for Youth (VIA-Youth) and positive classroom behaviours by the Classroom Behavior Rating Scale (CBRS), which cover positive achievement-related behaviour and positive social behaviour. For primary students, achievement was obtained by teachers’ rating; for secondary students, the schools’ administration offices provided their grades. The findings showed that:

  • Perseverance, prudence, hope, social intelligence, and self-regulation were positively related to positive classroom behaviour for both primary and secondary students.
  • Perseverance, prudence, hope, love of learning, perspective, zest and gratitude were positively related to school achievement for both primary and secondary students.
  • Perseverance, prudence and hope were associated with both positive classroom behaviour and school achievement across primary and secondary sectors.

The authors suggest the findings indicate there is a rather distinct set of strengths most relevant in schools. They also suggest further research could explore whether teachers and students value these strengths.

 

Source (Open Access): Wagner, L., & Ruch, W. (2015). Good character at school: Positive classroom behavior mediates the link between character strengths and school achievement. Frontiers in Psychology6, 610.Read the rest

Effects of shared book reading for young ELL children

meta-analysis, published in Review of Educational Research, examines how shared book reading affects the English language and literacy skills of young English Language Learners (ELLs).

Shared book reading involves an adult reading with one or more children, and is considered to be an effective practice for language and literacy development. It may also involve interactive practices such as dialogic reading techniques to engage children or reinforce specific ideas or words from the text.

For this meta-analysis, Lisa Fitton and colleagues identified 54 studies of shared reading interventions conducted in the U.S. that met their inclusion criteria. The total number of participants across the studies was 3,989, with an average age of six.

Results revealed that:

  • There is an overall positive effect of shared reading on ELL outcomes (effect size = +0.28).
  • Children’s developmental status moderated this effect, with larger effect sizes found in studies including only typically developing children (+0.48) than in studies including only participants with developmental disorders (+0.17).

The authors recommended further research with attention to detailed reporting and rigorous research methodology on shared reading to identify other moderators, including intervention characteristics.

 

Source: Fitton, L., McIlraith, A. L., & Wood, C. L. (2018). Shared book reading interventions with English learners: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 88(5), 712–751.Read the rest